1 - Keep chemicals off your plate
Many pesticides approved for use by the EPA were registered long before extensive research linking these chemicals to cancer and other diseases had been established. Now the EPA considers 60% of all herbicides, 90% of all fungicides and 30% of all insecticides are carcinogenic. A National Academy of Sciences report in 1987 estimated that pesticides may cause an extra 4 million cancer cases among Americans.
The bottom line is that pesticides are poisons designed to kill living organisms and can also harm humans. In addition to cancer, pesticides are implicated in birth defects, nerve damage and genetic mutations.
2. Taste - Taste - Taste
There´s a good reason why many chefs use organic foods in their recipes � it tastes better. Unlike organic farmers who leave the fruit to ripen on the vine, commercial growers may pick the fruit earlier in order to get it the market in good condition. This doesn´t allow the development of natural minerals usually present at the mature green stage. Also, selling produce out of season (which is discouraged in organic farming) can also affect taste.
Soil with high biological activity means the transfer of nutrients to the plant. Organic farming starts with the nourishment of the soil, which eventually leads to the nourishment of the plant and, ultimately, our palates.
3. Protect future generations
The average child receives four times more exposure than an adult to at least eight widely used cancer-causing pesticides in food. Food choices you make now will impact your child´s future health.
4. Prevent soil erosion
The American Soil Conservation Service estimates more than 3 billion tonnes of topsoil are eroded from US crops each year. That means soil erodes seven times faster than it´s built up naturally.
Soil is the foundation of the food chain in organic farming. However, in conventional farming, the soil is used more as a medium for holding plants in a vertical position so they can be chemically fertilised. As a result, farms are suffering from the worst soil erosion in history.
5. Protect water supply
Water makes up to two thirds of our body mass and covers three-fourths of the planet. The EPA estimates pesticides (some cancer causing) can contaminate groundwater, polluting the primary source of drinking water.
6. Support a true economy
Although organic food might seem more expensive than conventional foods, conventional food prices don´t reflect hidden costs borne by taxpayers, including federal subsidies. Other hidden costs include pesticide regulation and testing, hazardous waste disposal and clean-up, and environmental damage.
You need to take into account the costs of the use of pesticides on society as a whole. If it costs for society to clean up the problems caused by conventional farming, there can be an argument that organics are actually cheaper.
7. Save Energy
Farms have changed dramatically in the last three generations, from family based small businesses dependent on human energy to large scale factory farms. Modern farming uses more petrol than any other single industry. More energy is now used to produce synthetic fertilisers than to till, cultivate and harvest crops. Organic farming is still based on labour intensive practices, such as hand weeding and green manure and crop covers instead of synthetic fertilisers to support soil.
8. Protect Farm Workers
A National Cancer Institute study found that farmers exposed to herbicides had six times more risk than non-farmers of contracting cancer. In California, reported pesticide poisonings among farm workers have raised an average of 14% a year since 197 and doubled between 1975 and 1985. Field workers suffer the highest rates of occupational illness in the state. Farm worker health is also a serious problem in developing nations, where pesticide use is poorly regulated. An estimated 1 million people are poisoned annually by pesticides.
9. Help small farmers
Although more and more large scale farms are making the conversion to organic practices, most organic farms are small, independently owned family farms of fewer than 100 acres. It´s estimated that the US has lost more than 650,000 family farms in the last decade. Organic farming could be one of the few survival tactics left for family farms.
10. Promote bio-diversity
Mono-cropping is the practice of planting large plots of land wit the same crop year after year. While this approach has tripled farm production between 1950 and 1970, the lack of natural diversity of plant life has left the soil lacking in natural minerals and nutrients. To replace nutrients, chemical fertilisers are used, often in increasing amounts.
Single crops are also much more susceptible to pests, making farmers more reliant on pesticides. Despite a tenfold increase in the use of pesticides between 1947 and 1974, crop losses due to insects have doubled � partly because some insects have become genetically resistant to certain pesticides.
- Organic means less dependence on fossil fuels. Organic farming practices can help reduce climate change.